Documentary & Biography TV Shows

About Documentary & Biography

The purpose of a TV documentary, as is probably obvious from the genre's name, is to document something. Documentaries are non-fiction programs that examine a subject closely, and the intent of the program may be broadly educational, or it may attempt to make a cultural or political point. Although the earliest TV programming was focused on entertainment, documentaries quickly became a significant part of TV programming overall, and now some of the most popular TV networks concentrate almost exclusively on non-fiction programs.

Documentary TV programming comes in a number of forms. Stand-alone documentary films explore one subject in depth in a single film or in a short series of episodes, while documentary series often look at a different subject in each episode, with no direct connection between the subjects from episode to episode. News-magazine-style shows may group multiple segments within each episode; the segments typically focus on unrelated subjects. Other types of documentary series-crime and paranormal series are currently popular-explore a different specific subject in each episode, but all of the subjects conform to the overall theme of the series.

Biography is a sub-genre of documentary programming that tells the story of a particular individual. Historical figures, political leaders, entertainers, sports figures and other celebrities are, of course, the most popular subjects of TV biographies, and biographical documentaries are consistently popular with TV viewers. In recent years, the series "Biography" was one of the most successful productions on the A&E cable network-so much so that the network spun the series off into its own channel, The Biography Channel, which debuted in 1999.

Much of the programming that fits into the reality TV genre could also fit fairly comfortably into the documentary genre. Reality series that follow characters as they engage in specific occupations or live in unusual contexts educate viewers about those occupations and lifestyles at the same time that they entertain-although the main goal of these series is entertainment, and factual accuracy may suffer as a consequence.

About This Genre
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Lockup
Lockup
Empires
Empires
Disappeared
Disappeared
American Experience
American Experience
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Hustle & Soul
Hustle & Soul
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Intervention
Intervention
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
See No Evil
See No Evil
The Bureau
The Bureau
River Monsters
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Frontline
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
The FBI Files
Mayday
Unmasking A Killer
Snapped
NASA's Unexplained Files
Harley and the Davidsons
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Unexpected
Dateline
American Dynasties: The Kennedys
Nature
Alien Encounters
American Masters
The Skinny Dip
The Devils Ride
Sensing Murder
Beyond Scared Straight
I Survived
Taboo
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine
How the Universe Works
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Tornado Chasers
American Gangster
Secrets of the Dead
Black Love
Bering Sea Gold
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Confessions: Animal Hoarding
Life Below Zero
My Crazy Ex
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
America The Story of Us
Facing Evil
House of Horrors: Kidnapped
Deadly Affairs
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dark Net
I Am Homicide
Planet Dinosaur
Most Evil
Grand Prix Driver
Forbidden History
Flower Boy Next Door
How It's Made
The Curse of Civil War Gold
Beyond
Slutever
Locked Up Abroad
American Race
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Death Row Stories
The Staircase
The War: A Ken Burns Film
Haunted History
Chasing Classic Cars
History Detectives
Wicked Attraction
Vietnam in HD
Genealogy Roadshow
Case Closed with A.J. Benza
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
Dark Temptations
Navy Seals: Untold Stories
Survivorman
FBI: Criminal Pursuit
The Celts
Animal Fight Night
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Lost Tapes
Horror at the Cecil Hotel
Below Deck Mediterranean
Good Eats
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern